Clinic Stories

Safety First

Cheetahs are not the animal of choice for a petting zoo. Known for their speed, being able to sprint at over 70 mph, they are skillful predators. They have been “tamed” and used for hunting but generally are not ideal pets.

One of the greatest threats to cheetahs is being shot by farmers protecting their herds. A wildlife sanctuary in South Africa has raised a cheetah from a cub to help protect her wild kin. This now full-grown cheetah travels with a handler who lectures farmers about the breed so they can get in touch with their inner cheetah, hoping they trap and relocate rather than shoot the cheetahs.

While visiting the sanctuary they brought out their show cheetah, allowing each visitor a single stroke along the back and tail and a picture. Since she is still a wild animal precautions were taken. The visitors were brought into a fenced enclosure with several impalas, a cheetah delicacy. The cheetah was then brought into the enclosure. The impalas were around in the event that if she went off her training she would attack an impala rather than a person. Indeed she stayed focused on the impalas vocalizing like a house cat watching birds through a window.

How could you not relax in the presence of a cheetah knowing you are not the meal of choice?

Back to Top